Irish triads

Triads are a form of Celtic gnomic poetry, i.e. wisdom poetry, much like proverbs. The Celts were really into the number three, apparently. These turn up in both Irish and Welsh literature. There are probably collections of these online as well by this point, and I should track them down. I have no idea where these are from, I got them out of a book while researching a paper back in high school. That report, presumably containing a bibliography, is on an Apple IIE disk somewhere or other. Anyway, enjoy some Irish triads.

Three excellent qualities of narration: a good flow, depth of thought, conciseness.

Three dislikable qualities in the same: stiffness, obscurity, bad delivery.

Three things that are always ready in a decent man’s house: beer, a bath, a good fire.

Three accomplishments well regarded in Ireland: a clever verse, music on the harp, the art of shaving faces.

Three signs of concupiscence: sighing, gamey tricks, going to hooleys.

Three smiles that are worse than griefs: the smile of snow melting, the smile of your wife when another man has been with her, the smile of a mastiff about to spring.

The three with the lightest hearts: the student after reading his psalms, a young lad who has left off his boy’s clothes for good, a maid who has been made a woman.

The three doors by which falsehood enters: anger in stating the case, shaky information, evidence from a bad memory.

Three times when speech is better than silence: when urging a king to battle, when reciting a well turned line of poetry, when giving due praise.

Three scarcities that are better than abundance: a scarcity of fancy talk, a scarcity of cows in a small pasture, a scarcity of friends around the beer.

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